Chances are you are already familiar with the concept of "future proofing". Even those not familiar with the term will find it self-explanatory enough. Future proofing has to do with anticipating future events and developing strategies to deal with the effects of future events.
But for all the talks about futureproofing, who could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic that shook the world at its very core? Even now, almost three years after the pandemic, the effects of the pandemic linger and it's difficult to predict what will happen in the future.
That said, there are ways you can anticipate the future and put some measures in place to make your business run more efficiently and reduce stress. Below, you'll find simple and practical steps you can take to prepare your business for the future:
Many businesses often make the mistake of forgetting their most important stakeholder - the customers and preparing for the future means knowing about your customer behaviors and how these behaviors may change in the future. But first, you have to attract customers and this involves superb services and experience.
Today's customers demand superior experience, and they quickly move on from businesses that fail to meet their lofty expectations. From providing valuable information to merchandising, direct and empathetic customer services, quality products/services, amazing deals, and so on, there are many ways you can attract and retain customers.
Your work isn't done yet as you need to see your business from the perspective of your customers. Are they satisfied with what you are offering? Is there a way you can do better? Getting answers to these questions will require surveys, focus groups, and a system to collect data about your customers. This will allow you to analyze their behavior patterns and trends that may indicate how the service is perceived by your major stakeholders and what you may need to do in the future to improve your services.
Business agility is arguably the most important trait you need to future proof your business. Agility in a business context refers to the ability of an organization to respond and adapt to market changes as soon as possible. It also refers to organizations adjusting in preparation for future changes.
Now more than ever, business changes at fast rates, and businesses need to be agile to reinvent themselves for continuity and success. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as an example again, only the most agile businesses were able to quickly incorporate the technology needed to cope with the pandemic and adapt to new business practices.
So, how can your business be agile? It starts with you and every other person in a leadership role. You need to have a deep sense of responsibility and the ability to make decisions quickly, especially in uncertain situations.
Ever heard of the financial principle of saving for a rainy day? It's something you'll do well to follow. And the best time to save for the future is when you don't need the money. Of course, it'd be counterproductive to save solely for the future as you'll most likely need to also invest money into the business. It could be for hiring new employees or buying new equipment or technology.
So, while it's always beneficial to have some savings for the future, you should prioritize present needs and obligations. These are crucial to the success of your business. Even if you don't have a lot of money in savings, you'll have access to better credit facilities if your business is solid and thriving.
If there's anything we learned from the pandemic, it's that technology has a place in every industry and in every business, big or small. Chances are you've already embraced new technologies over the past couple of years. But are you using those technologies to their full potential? Are there better technologies that you are currently missing out on?
Common technologies that could come in handy for your business include;
CRM can offer you detailed analytics crucial to increasing sales, improving customer service and retention, and reducing marketing costs. Payment processing systems can help provide multiple payment options for your customers. This allows them to pay for products/services using their preferred payment method.
While technology offers exciting solutions, they also present new threats and cybersecurity is a genuine concern for any business owner. Data security solutions can help safeguard critical information and protect against cyber threats.